Bringing the Weather to the People: Founding at SRB

Did you know that Weather Underground was the very first Internet weather service? Did you know it got it started right here in the Space Research Building back in the 1990s? Founded by a group that inlcuded alum Jeff Masters and CLaSP Professor Perry Samson, has become a leading source of weather information. 

As part of the U-M Bicentennial Web Project, writer Evan Dougherty shares the history of Weather Underground from its humble beginnings to its ongoing mission “to make quality weather information available to every person on this planet.”

From the article:

It’s Monday, August 19, 1991. Hurricane Bob is roaring up the coast of New England and the public’s everyday understanding of the weather will soon be forever changed.

In the Space Research Building on the University of Michigan’s North Campus is a single Sun 4/110 workstation taking live satellite data from the National Weather Service. It organizes that data it into a simple, menu-based program and makes it available to everyone on the growing Internet.

This real-time weather resource, referred to as UM-WEATHER, is the first of its kind, and not many people know about it. It had barely 100 weekly users since going live back in May, but with Hurricane Bob approaching, word of mouth boosts weekly usage to 25,000, with no slowdown in sight. 

Read the full article.

The Climate & Space department still plays an active role in weather data collection here at U-M. We maintain a weather station here at CLaSP, as well as another on the roof of Michigan Stadium.

If you visit the Weather Underground site, you can see current conditions at both stations!